Alaska Robotics

Alaska Kickstarter Roundup

Thursday, August 6th 2015 by Pat

Some excellent human beings I know are making these things! I trust they’ll dig deep into their hearts and scoop out all the good stuff.

Dee Jay DeRego & Conor Lendrum

Dee Jay and Connor want to be wandering vagabond poets for a while. I think it’s a great idea.

Connor is an overt and charismatic kid who wanders around with his shirt unbuttoned and a big speakerbox backpack slung over his shoulder. He’ll sing along enthusiastically to whatever moves him, he has a way of amplifying and adding meaning to another person’s voice.

Dee Jay is more subdued, humble and gracious in a way that’s difficult to pin down. He’s a listener, an observer. He sees the world and how things fit together, how people tick along, how they’re broken.

The real treat here is at the $250 reward level, these guys will come teach a poetry workshop in your community. This is something they’re good at, put them to work!

Seth Boyer

Seth Boyer makes sad songs. And some less sad songs. And some songs about Sailor Moon. Also, he likes dogs. I think that’s pretty much all you need to know about Seth.

I’d really like for this album to get made. Here’s a sample:

Lisle Hebert

Lisle Hebert is a longtime Alaskan filmmaker who is setting out to create a docudrama about the events that caused the Yupik Eskimos to turn away from spiritual shamanism and towards the churches of missionaries and settlers.

Lisle’s work is based on the essay, YUUYARAQ: The Way of the Human Being, by Harold Napoleon and it will touch on a lot of the important and uncomfortable bits of Alaska History we don’t like to talk about.

Listed under project challenges, Lisle has ALS. It’s not something that’s a part of the film but it is a part of his reality and I think it will provide the drive and perspective to create something truly unique.

Grand Ol’ Paranoia

Thursday, July 23rd 2015 by Pat

Alaska GOP Communications Director, Suzanne Downing, called me out in her latest newsletter as some kind of shady political activist. I find this hilarious.

The newsletter is brilliantly titled, MUST READ ALASKA, so I’ll assume it’s not just languishing in your inbox. You’ve probably already been through the section on the closely guarded secret revenue meetings that are taking place across the state. I’m listed among the worst offenders:

“Also among Juneau’s closed planning group are environmental activists like SEACC’s development director Emily Ferry, Oceana attorney Michael LeVine (formerly with Earthjustice), and Alaska Robotics owner and political activist Pat Race.”

I know Republicans are supposed to spit on the ground after they say SEACC or Earth Justice so the implication is that Alaska Robotics (ptoooie) is just as villainous. Probably we’ve destroyed, like, a thousand jobs.

I was a little surprised to make the hit list but not as surprised as I was to hear the Alaska GOP crying about closed door meetings. That’s some sweet irony coming from the most powerful and privileged group of back room dealers in the state.

So. Let’s talk about these secret meetings of secret evil secrets held in the moonlight by secret liberal schemers.

The meeting I attended was the first of two where local attendees shared our impressions of the governor’s “Sustainable Future” meeting in Fairbanks. The goal was to figure out ways to broaden that discussion on a local level.

This wasn’t some kind of locked door cabal, this was a group of people trying to figure out how to expand a conversation about Alaska’s fiscal crisis.

Of the five people who came to this follow-up meeting, one was a commissioner for Murkowski and another was a director under the Palin administration. Yes, Bruce Botelho was there too and he rode in on a kayak made of organic kale but I think he was on track to answer the same fundamental questions we’re all working on:

How do we save Alaska from fiscal obliteration?

There are a lot of different answers to this question and they all need to be weighed. Some people want to make more cuts, others want to impose taxes or close weird loopholes and I suspect some folks would be happy to just see it all come down.

Whatever the answer, you can’t solve a problem of this scale with just a few people, you need to stitch together a multitude of perspectives to see the solution.

The Alaska GOP is the most powerful political party in Alaska and has been for quite some time. They hold the purse strings, they make the laws and they decide who wears pants. If the Alaska GOP feels like they’re not a part of this conversation, it just means they aren’t interested in listening.

P.S. Please enjoy trying to decipher this completely awful chart with way too many pie pieces.

Death and Taxes

Wednesday, June 10th 2015 by Pat

“Things as certain as Death and Taxes, can be more firmly believ’d.”
     —Daniel Defoe The Political History of the Devil 1726.

I attended a dialog hosted by Governor Walker over the weekend, Building a Sustainable Future: Conversations with Alaskans.

This is me collecting my thoughts, sharing my impressions and attempting to expand the discussion. It may get a bit lengthy, feel free to skim or skip.

Day 1 – Friday, June 5th

The gathering was convened by Alaska Governor, Bill Walker and hosted on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus which has historical significance as the location of our state’s constitutional convention.

There were about 200 people in attendance, ranging from Governor Walker’s transition team and staff to more tangentially affiliated folks like myself. How I rated an invite isn’t exactly clear but it was likely my keen understanding of Alaska’s fiscal situation.

I flew to Fairbanks on my own thin dime and was housed in Lathrop Hall on the university campus. We didn’t have hot water the first day and my roommate moved out almost immediately after meeting me. It really brought back some memories.
Read the rest of this entry »

Rasmuson Distinguished Artist – Garry Kaulitz

Monday, June 1st 2015 by Pat

The Rasmuson Foundation provides direct support for individual artists and each year they select one Alaskan to receive their Distinguished Artist Award.

This year, the award went to print maker, Garry Kaulitz. Lou and I spent some time with him at his studio in Anchorage and put together the following mini-doc.

This is our fourth year putting together the Distinguished Artist profile and it’s been a great experience meeting and chatting with such incredible Alaskans.

Space Weird Thing

Tuesday, May 26th 2015 by Pat

Ground Control to Top Space Man!

We made a music video with Molly Lewis, Marian Call and Seth Boyer!

It’s a little bit of a trip… we re-wrote David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” in XKCD “Up-Goer Five” style using only the 1000 most common words in the English language. The film was sweded in an afternoon (like in “Be Kind Rewind”) and many of you will recognize moments in the video from the Flight of the Conchords excellent “Bowie’s in Space“… which I now need to go watch again.

Bonus Easter Egg: Audio clip of Sally Ride (who has a birthday today) commenting on how her space trip was like a Disneyland E-Ticket.

We went wayyyyy down the rabbit hole on this one!

Gallery Newsletter – May 2015

Friday, May 1st 2015 by Pat

We have a ton of fun sales and events coming up in the next few days at the gallery, check out our newsletter to get all the details!

Jen Rose

2015 Alaska Press Club Awards

Friday, May 1st 2015 by Pat

Our totally legitimate news program received two Alaska Press Club Awards for our coverage of the 2014 legislative session and elections!!!

Thank you to Lou, Aaron, Jamie, Andy, Richard, Phoebe, Jack, Jen, Will, Tara and all of our dodgy, uncredited supporters who kept the wheels greased and ideas flowing.

press club2

Additionally, I scooped up a first place in Arts Reporting for my coverage of the Latitude Arts Convergence. That was a fun event where I just ran around for a few days with my camera and then stayed up all night trying to hack together a video.

Alaska’s Budget Woes

Tuesday, April 14th 2015 by Pat

For those of you who missed Governor Bill Walker’s State of the Budget address, we’ve summed it up for you here.

G2G2

Tuesday, April 14th 2015 by Pat

State funding for public media has been slashed but Alaska Robotics News is ready to step in and pick up where they left off. We present Gavel to Gavel Two. G2G2.

Rep. Kawasaki

Tuesday, April 14th 2015 by Pat

Thanks to Rep. Scott Kawasaki for giving us a great interview!